Like every other decent human, I am deeply saddened by the recent events in Minnesota. While I do live in Iowa now, I was born and raised in southern Minnesota. I attended the University of Minnesota and lived in St. Paul for a few years in the mid 90s. I’ve been to Mall of American a zillion times and even worked there one December weekend long, long ago during my stint working retail. It’s a place close to my heart.
While there are a million questions on everyone’s mind, there are two that are top of mine.
#1 How does this happen in 2020?
How, in this modern era of supposed enlightenment, do we still have such systemic racism, not just in law enforcement, but in society in general? I keep seeing posts that “90% of cops are good”. I’m sorry, but 10% racist asshole cops are 10% too many. 1% racist asshole cops are too many! Unfortunately, the 10% figure is probably a lot closer to the truth, because, let’s face it, there are still a lot of racist asshole people.
During my time in retail (in the mid 90s) I had an amazing boss Nerita for about a year who was African American. To this day I can remember a customer coming in demanding the manager and being visibly horrified when Nerita identified herself as such. Nerita handled it amazingly well because she was used to it. She told me stories about similar things that had happened to her that made me sick.
Shortly after 9/11 I dated an Indian man for about a year and a half. He was often mistaken for Middle Eastern and he too was used to racism. I’ll never forget the night we were out to dinner and a total stranger came up to me and asked me why I was dating a terrorist. I cried a long time over that one.
Those instances were both decades ago. Have we really made that little progress in 20+ years???
#2 How does this happen in Minnesota?
Minnesota is one of the bluest of blue states. The last time they went Republican in a Presidential election was Nixon in 1972 and before that it was Eisenhower in 1956. Minnesota has produced Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, and Paul Wellstone. Minnesota currently has a Muslin woman representing their 5th district in Congress. This is state known for being progressive and left-leaning (And yes, I know you can be a Democrat and a racist, but it’s be real- they are a lot fewer and further between than among the right- leaning folks.)
Minnesota is also where I grew up. It’s where my family and a huge number of my friends live. It’s known for lakes and fishing and farming. We have a long history of mediocre sports teams. We are the home of Spam, the Juicy Lucy, hot dish, and lutefisk. We are generally considered very good people- “Minnesota Nice” even.
So how do things like this happen in such a good place??
Sadly, I don’t have any answers, just questions and a heavy heart.
In the days and weeks and months ahead please join me and pray for Minnesota. Pray for a peaceful resolution. Pray for rebuilding of damaged areas. Pray for the people of EVERY color. Pray for the end to racism in Minnesota and everywhere else. We can, and NEED to get better.